Food safety system improvement to boost exports by 24% | Daily News


Food safety system improvement to boost exports by 24%

Dr. Ian Goulding
Dr. Ian Goulding

In an analytical study on Socio Economic Costs and Benefits of Food Safety Reform in Sri Lanka, undertaken by Dr. Ian Goulding, an international expert on food safety systems, suggests that an investment in improvement food safety risk management by government of USD 30 million and an annual net budgetary commitment of USD 9 million will lead to a significant increase in annual export values over 10 years by 24% and reduction in annual food borne illnesses by 934,000 cases and 113 deaths.

According to the study, these benefits are expected to add approximately 2.5% to Gross National Product and secure employment for 122,236 persons in the agricultural and food industries corresponding nearly 5.7% of the sector.

However to obtain these benefits , the report suggest that export Food Business Operators and their suppliers will need to invest USD 822 million in upgrading factories , equipment, staff training and strengthened control systems. They will also need to sustain additional annual operating costs averaging USD 43 million.

“The study basically highlights the costs and benefits of food safety reform in terms of export trade and Sri Lankan consumer health,” Dr.Ian Goulding told at a private sector discussion on Food Safety System Reform Process In Sri Lanka held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, yesterday.

The report also recommends that it is important to recognise that increased food safety has socio-economic as well as health outcomes.

It is also recommended that increase value-added and employment in the agri-food sector’ should be recognised as a programme objective in the implementation of Sri Lanka’s food safety reforms.

Relevant indicators in terms of value added and employment should therefore be recognised and set, as well as health outcomes in terms of foodborne illnesses.

“The establishment of a National Food Safety Authority with unitary mandate will allow, for the first time, a specific budget allocation for food safety commensurate with national policy priorities.

The policy reform process is recommended to ensure that appropriate budgetary commitments are made by the Government,” the report stated.

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